Dexter: The Complete Second Season Review
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Showtime’s Dexter feels like a guilty pleasure. You aren’t really supposed to like a guy who chops up his victims, stuffs them in garbage bags, and dumps them in the ocean. But since he only kills the scum of society, I think you and I are pretty safe. Plus, he’s just so darn charming that you can’t resist him.

Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) is just your friendly neighborhood serial killer—who, by day, works as a blood splatter expert for the Miami Police Department. He has a girlfriend named Rita Bennett (Julie Benz) who’s perfect for him—she keeps him normal, so he can fit into society. And if Dexter can feel anything, he’d feel it for his adoptive sister, Debra (Jennifer Carpenter), who works homicide for the MPD.

The second season finds Dexter dealing with the aftermath of killing his brother, who turned out to be season one’s Ice Truck Killer. Dexter hasn’t been able to kill since he took his brother down, and it’s driving him crazy. To make things worse, Debra moves in with Dexter after almost being murdered by the Ice Truck Killer (to whom, incidentally, she was engaged). That’s gotta mess with a gal’s mind! She can’t sleep, she’s afraid to be alone, and she exercises to the point that it’s starting to be unhealthy. She also has the annoying habit of engaging the chain lock on the door before Dexter’s home for the night.

Life isn’t running well for Dexter, either. He lands in rehab for an addiction he doesn’t have, and he ends up meeting a woman who can see behind his mask to who he really is. Meanwhile, his secrets are floating to the surface. Literally. The authorities find his dumping ground off the coast of Miami, and they start hunting the Bay Harbor Butcher—a title that Dexter hates.

Dexter spends the next few weeks trying to throw the detectives—in his own department, no less—off the trail and dodging Sergeant Doakes (Erik King). Doakes has been tailing Dexter since the Ice Truck Killer mess, and he knows that something’s just not right.

Dexter’s also torn between Rita and Lila (Jaime Murray), the dark-haired British woman in his rehab group. She calms the monster in him, and he hasn’t killed since knowing her. But something about Lila just isn’t right, and Dexter misses Rita and her kids more than he thought possible. Could our serial killer be having an identity crisis?

One of the great things about Dexter is that he makes me laugh. Throughout the season, viewers get to hear what’s going on inside Dexter’s head—and, most of the time, he’s thinking what most everyone else is thinking when it comes to life and those little things that grate on your nerves. He always comes up with a totally inappropriate—but hilarious—solution to any problem. And, knowing what he is, it’s especially funny when he chants, I will not kill my sister, I will not kill my sister, I will not kill my sister when she gets on his nerves.

I didn’t really care much for Debra in the first season. She irritated me to no end with her insecurities and spastic personality, but she matures in the second season. I found myself admiring her strength in dealing with her past with a serial killer who came darn close to killing her. Once she starts working on the Bay Harbor Butcher case, she gets her game back and learns to trust her heart and instincts once again.

Rita also develops into a stronger woman. In season one, she was so fragile. Normally, that would get on my nerves, but it didn’t with Rita—because I knew what she’d been through. She’s emotionally scarred after surviving an abusive marriage, and she’s trying to raise two children on her own. So it’s good to see her taking charge of her life in season two.

The entire season covers basically one storyline, which is resolved in the last episode—so you’re not left with a cliffhanger. But Dexter is such a good show that—even without the cliffhanger—I still look forward to the third season, to see what kind of messes he gets into next.

Hilarious, addictive, and idiosyncratic, Dexter will leave you laughing and begging for more. Dexter is a truly lovable serial killer, and you’ll find yourself wanting to give him a hug rather than slap handcuffs on him. This show may be like chocolate cake to a dieter, but since it’s such an avant-garde delight, I plan to indulge often.

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